Clio Logo
This is a contributing entry for Natural Huntington and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.
Modoc the circus elephant was captured just to the southeast of this spot in 1942. After five days on the run, she could rest, recuperate, and rejoin her sister pachyderms.

Modoc's Entire Route

Ecoregion, Map, Slope, Rectangle

Modoc's Route in Wabash County (Day 1-2)

Font, Rectangle, Parallel, Schematic

Site of Modoc's Capture (Day 5)

Rectangle, Font, Schematic, Parallel

In 1942 this farm was owned by Lloyd Krieg and his brother Claude. In the woods on the farm, possibly the clump still in existence, Modoc made her last stand. After several more hours and about 30 loaves of fresh bread, the frightened animal was enticed to leave and rejoin her circus sisters, Judy and Empress. She was dehydrated and had lost approximately 800 of her 1900 pounds. But, other than that and a slight cold (for which she was given six quarts of whiskey), she was in good shape. By Christmas, she had gained most of the weight back. She went on to continue her circus career for many more years.

Her journey began four days earlier, on Wednesday, November 11th, 1942, when she and her sister pachyderms were waiting to enter the gymnasium at the Wabash high school for a fund raiser. A pack of dogs began barking and running through the elephant’s legs. All three elephants left the scene. Empress and Judy didn’t go far and were soon back under control, but not before making a mess in nearby basement. Modoc ran further. Far enough that she caught the enticing smell of roasting peanuts in the Bradley Drug Store at the corner of South Miami and Market Streets. Entering the store, she did considerable damage, but made away with a belly full of fresh-roasted peanuts. From there she was off to IN-13. That night she crossed the Wabash. Thursday, she made it past Lagro then had a rest in a thicket. Friday morning, she was near the Salamonie and had an encounter with a female reporter that escaped by climbing a nearby tree. Modoc continued her escape, crossing either the Wabash or Salamonie Rivers as necessary to elude her pursuit. By Friday morning she was on the J. R. McDaniel home, and/or a little ways away in an extensive thicket that was on a farm belonging to Glenn Barnett and where a man named Kenneth Kindley lived. (See tour stop PO-001 Modoc Overnight.) Police and well-meaning locals surrounded the area. Somehow, Modoc was scared further and in making her escape “rolled” on Mr. Kindley, injuring him so badly the papers gave him only a 50-50 chance of surviving. After her escape, she started towards Monument City putting a panic into the townsfolk who immediately hid or left the area. She circumvented the town and wound up in another copse of trees on the farm of Lloyd and Claude Krieg. One more cold night and then she was captured as the sun set Sunday evening.

Today, Bradley’s Drug Store is called Modoc’s Market in memory of her escapades there. Kenneth Kindley survived and was given the nickname “Modoc Man.” Unfortunately, his encounter with the elephant left him permanently disabled; he was only able to walk with the aid of two crutches.

  1. Various news articles from November 1942 from local and non-local papers describing her escapades. Collected in a History Topic file at the Huntington City-Township Public Library.
  2. Chicago Tribune, Friday 13 Nov 1942, page 4
  3. Highway and Drainage Map of Huntington County, Indiana. 1949. [County Engineering Office.]
Image Sources(Click to expand)

Google Maps with author route

Chicago Tribune, Friday 13 Nov 1942, page 4

1949 Map of Huntington